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A brief review on Arsenal’s ambassadors on international duty this weekend

I guess that I’ll have to start by apologizing for some of the content in my last post. I wrote that I was probably going to get some stick by putting Eduardo and Carlos Vela in a list that had Pascal Cygan, Denilson and Mikael Silvestre and boy, did I get some stick or what. Many gooners expected names like Francis Jeffers and Sebastien Squillaci to be in the list but as I wrote in that same post, the list is endless..

Moving on from that minor setback, this weekend turned out to be a boring affair because I was forced to watch some countries bore me to tears with 0-0 draws as well as a 1-0 England win in a game that I anticipated to have a boatload of goals at least. From a neutral point of view, it was an interesting match between two football heavyweights but Vicente del Bosque had to succumb to just his sixth loss as Spain’s manager which is pretty impressive if you ask me.

The most important fixtures from a European perspective where the European Championships playoffs that took place between eight teams with only four joining the remaining 12 that have already qualified. In other parts of the globe, Arsenal sent 16 ambassadors to represent their national teams and here’s a full list of the Gunners in action:

Aaron Ramsey

The Welsh captain led his fellow dragons as they breathed a baptism of fire past Norway in a resounding 4-1 victory. The world’s best left-footed Chimpanzee opened the deadlock before the fastest hobbit currently playing in Liverpool made it two. Wolves Sam Vokes completed the rout with a brace.

Laurent Koscielny

The Kosinator has been in inspired form this season and it was only a matter of time before he was going to be called up by Laurent Blanc. He finally made his first cap for France in their 1-0 victory over the United States. Fulham’s Clint Dempsey was ubiquitous on the pitch and Everton’s Tim Howard made an unbelievable save from Karim Benzema’s free kick. Marseille’s Loic Remy scored what proved to be the winner with a placed effort from an over the top pass.

Tomas Rosicky

Little Mozart captained his side to put one foot in the European Championships after a 2-0 win against surprise package Montenegro. Rosicky was voted as the Man of the Match as he pulled all the strings in the midfield.

Theo Walcott

The pacey winger played 45 minutes in England’s 1-0 victory over Spain. As expected, the Spaniards dominated possession but the Lampback of NotreDame bellied his years and came up with the goods again.

There was so much talk at the start of the season that the Lampback was past his prime but he has been impressive in the Premier League since AVB handed him another chance. He even got a goal and gave an assist when Chelsea played Arsenal but the pick of the bunch was the performance of Captain Van-tastic.

Gervinho

The fore-headed one was in action when the Elephants took on last summer’s World Cup hosts in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium at Port Elizabeth but it ended in a 1-1 draw. Sibuniso Gaxa scored an embarrassing own goal to put Gervinho’s side ahead but a Katlego Mphela free kick leveled the contest.

I will never forget Mphela’s free kick against Spain in the 2010 Confederations Cup. It left me screaming so hard that my mum came out of her room to check if anything had happened to her beloved son. I would like you all to scream like me so I’ve decided to put the video of the goal in this post.

Andrey Arshavin

Russia’s football czar led his country to a 1-1 draw against Euro 2004 winners Greece. Roman Shirokov gave the visitors a quick lead in just two minutes but the experienced Kostas Katsouranis leveled the tie. Arshavin played all 90 minutes.

Robin van Persie and Johan Djourou

This lethal forward got injured for five months in a fixture against Italy last year so Arsene Wenger took out time to talk Bert van Marwijk about the striker’s availability in the friendly game against Switzerland. He played the entire match and shot blanks in a 0-0 draw but he was sent back home on a Red Ribbon as Holland is set to play Germany tomorrow without the Flying Dutchman.

Johan Djourou was on the other end of the pitch for 90 minutes and he was among the players that made sure that van Persie and the rest of the Dutch attack remained quiet throughout the game.

Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski

Both goalies were called up by Poland’s coach but Wojciech Szczesny got the nod when Poland took on Italy. Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini scored for Italy in the 2-0 win but Szczesny can be happy with his performance because he kept the Italians at bay several times.

Lukasz Fabianski will probably get the nod when Poland plays Hungary on Tuesday.

Thomas Vermaelen

The Verminator enjoyed some good time out at the dugout as Belgium defeated Romania by a 2-1 scoreline. The man-mountain Daniel van Buyten put the Belgians ahead and an own goal from Rasvan Cocis but Vermaelen’s side two up. Romanian veteran Daniel Niculae reduced the deficit for the visitors but it wasn’t enough as the game ended like that.

Vermaelen has followed the Belgium side that will play France in Paris and I’m pretty sure that Vermaelen will want to get him some French fries on the pitch on Tuesday.

Alex Song

Alex Song was in the starting lineup when Cameroon brushed Sudan aside in the LG Friendly Cup. The game ended at 3-1 in favor of Cameroon.

Per Mertesacker

Arsenal’s beanpole defender spent time on the bench like his defensive counterpart Thomas Vermaelen. However, it was a free scoring contest as Ukraine and Germany ended the game with three goals apiece.

Andriy Yarmolenko opened the scoring for the hosts and Yevgen Konoplyanka made it two. Bayern’s Toni Kroos pulled one back for the Germans but Serhiy Nazarenko brought Ukraine back to their comfort zone as the first half ended with a two-goal advantage for the Andriy Shevchenko captained side.

Joachim Loew probably went haywire in the dressing room as the Germans came back strongly in the second half. Bayer Leverkusen’s Simon Rolfes made it 3-2 before Bayern Munich’s Young Money singer turned footballer, Young Mueller Baby scored what proved to be the final goal of the fiesty encounter.

Park Chu-Young

Everybody expected Park Chu-Young to score again when Korea Republic visited United Arab Emirates and he duly delivered. Park has been a goal scoring machine for his nation this season and his goal against Bolton was a thing of beauty.

With the present form of van Persie, Park and Marouane Chamakh will have to be content with a place on the bench and they’ll have to strut their stuff when deployed in Cup matches.

As for the Under-21 level, youngsters like Francis Coquelin and Alex the Chambered Ox continued their fledgling careers.

We have one more week before we go back to civilization n the form of club football.

Till then,

Sayonara.

Lessons learnt from the Gunners on international duty

As one of the superpowers of European and world football, Arsenal is among the clubs that has a lot of players that are essential pieces of their jigsaw puzzle. Arsenal had a good number of ambassadors in last summer’s World Cup but Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner were the only Gunners that got on the score sheet.

Interlulls are always scheduled to come in between club fixtures and this one was no different. There are times you wish that the international break shouldn’t come by especially when you’re in great form while their other times when you want it to come soon enough.

Arsenal is currently going through a bad spell and the international break has provided Arsene Wenger with enough time to go back to his drawing board to cook up new tactics as well as to inject a new approach to his side because this present Arsenal squad is in dire need of change.

Change can come in form of a new formation such as the reliable 4-4-2 that almost propelled Arsenal to the Premier League title in the 2007/08 season before William Gallas’ antics coupled with those hopeless draws closed the curtain on Arsenal’s Premier League hopes. Tomas Rosicky and Aliaksandr Hleb provided wit on the flanks while Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini the Flanimal forged an extremely good understanding in the middle of the park.

Arsenal has wingers that can do with Rosicky and Hleb did back in the days but leaving Alex Song and any other creative midfielder like Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta or Yossi Benayoun would mean that Robin van Persie will play with a strike partner and I’m pretty sure that it would be welcomed by the Arsenal faithful.

Change can also come in form an injection of a defensive coach to the club’s current staff because it’s fair to say that there are many men in Arsenal that defend like toddlers. I was very impressed with the six-man defensive outlook Arsenal used in their box when defending corners when they played Newcastle in August but Wenger failed to stick with that tactic and his team has been duly punished.

A change in Arsenal’s fortunes is something that everyone has been praying for because the way the injuries, suspensions and ill-luck pile up can only be likened from the hands of Loki himself.

Arsenal sent some ambassadors to represent their nations last weekend as well as tonight while some will get the final piece of international action tomorrow before returning to London to play Sunderland on Saturday.

Park Chu-Young proved again that he could be a beast in front of goal and he’s one player that deserves a run out in the club. We also know that Park CY has told everyone that he has only two years to spend with Arsenal before representing the Korean Army and he says that he wants to end his stay in Europe with a flourish so employing the 4-4-2 tactic with him and RVP could bring devastating results for Arsenal.

Aaron Ramsey has shown the world how he can lead by example and he has always been vocal about his high hopes for Wales. Gary Speed’s present side has some household names and the future is bright for that footballing nation with the likes of Ramsey and Bale the Chimp spearheading its football affairs.

Robin van Persie has shown the gooners that it’s not every time he represents Holland that he ends up with a mysterious injury. He also showed his adeptness on the right wing and his sleek and deft touches were vital for Holland but it wasn’t enough as their 100% record with shattered to bits by Sweden in Rasunda.

Laurent Koscielny’s continuous wait for his French debut should have sent a clear message to him that there’s still hope for the bloke to join Poland but the decision still rests with him. He really showed everyone last season that Arsene Wenger knows a bargain when he sees one. He still has a thing or two to learn though.

Johan Djourou missed out on his nation’s qualifier against Wales through suspension but it’s funny to see how he has gone back to the number four slot in Arsenal’s defense after showing so much promise last season. He had a stinker against Blackburn but I’m sure that he won’t dwell on it.

Per Mertesacker used his enormous height to great effect when Germany played Turkey but I was disappointed that it wasn’t exploited in White Hart Lane despite Wenger’s attempt to give him that Samba-esque role but I’ll point my finger at the remaining 10 teammates that were tasked with floating the ball up for him.

Arshavin wasn’t really a peripheral figure when Russia beat Slovakia but Arshavin is a player that really needs to step up for Arsenal because his place is seriously under threat. Gervinho has usurped him from a starting berth on the left wing and he also has the potential threat of Ryo Miyaichi to contend with.

Lukasz Fabianski showed signs of rustiness when Poland played Korea Republic but he’ll get another bite on the cherry when Poland play Belarus. It’s really interesting to know that Fabianski and Szczesny are fighting for a place in both club and country but I tend to wonder what happened to Artur Boruc because he was the next best thing after the great Jerzy Dudek.

Tomas Rosicky showed off the moves that made people call him the Little Mozart and I certainly hope that the trend will continue in Arsenal. Tomas used to command a first team shirt for Arsenal when he arrived from Dortmund but his hamstring injury paved the way for others and he has really struggled to get his place. It’s more shocking to know that he can’t still get a place even after Francesca and Samantha left the club.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave Wenger a lot to think about following his brilliant hattrick but it’s also heartwarming to know that he can offer Arsenal some hope from the bench when the chips are down.

Marouane Chamakh scored for Morocco to seal their qualification to the African Cup of Nations after a four-year absence but he hasn’t been able to recapture the form of his first five months at Arsenal where he scored 10 goals in 21 appearances. I hope he gets his act right soon enough.

Gervinho was suspect for being very selfish in his recent Arsenal matches but he provided an assist for a former Gunner/junkie Kolo Toure. Yao Kouassi has been a big hit at Arsenal and I hope that Sunderland will be on the end of his trickery and hopefully goals.

Theo Walcott’s assist for Young showed how massively he has improved over the turn of the year. It’s really awkward to know that Fabio Hitler selected the One-Dimensional Lennon and the winger whose name is taller than him, Short Wright-Philips above Theo but England’s loss was Arsenal’s gain because it unleashed the beast within. Nasri also unleashed the post-World Cup beast and he’s presently earning the big greens at Etihad Stadium.

Finally, it’s refreshing to know that the Gunners are returning back to London unscathed and they’ll be ready to rediscover their form with a victory against Sunderland.

I forgot to add the world’s best striker’s name to the list. His goal against Portugal sent Morten Olson’s men to the Group Stages of the Euros while Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal are going to the play-offs but they could qualify from the Best Placed runners up category.

Ronaldo’s free kick was a thing of beauty but Ricardo Quaresma needs to be flogged though.

We know that he’s the king of the outside of the boot technique but I’m sure that God knew what he was doing when he gave us TWO FEET.

Sayonara.

Aftermath of the Blackburn game and the club’s confidence issues

Apologies for not publishing your daily Arsenal digest yesterday. I woke up really late and arrived at work late too. After a long day of plying my trade, I decided to hang out with my friends to have some chicken and beer. The chicken I’m writing about isn’t the chicken standing on shit ℓįkε Tottenham’s crested logo, it’s the type of ‘chicken’ that sits on your thighs and strokes your head with one of her hands.

Its pretty difficult to blog in such a situation. 😀

The Premier League’s 5th weekend had it all.

Arsenal endured its worst start in 58 years, the three promoted sides secured convincing victories, the striker-deficient Sunderland whitewashed Stoke Rugby FC, the water-tight Man City let Fulham back, King Kenny and his expensive Red ruffians got gazumped by Tottenham and Fernando Torres had the miss of the millennium despite scoring his first goal since the days Shakespeare wrote all his plays.

Arsenal activated their Self Destruct mode against Blackburn in Ewood Park and all Hell broke loose as Wenger’s men literally saved Steve Kean’s job with that disastrous second half performance.

However, Johan Djourou remains optimistic and has told the media Vultures that Arsenal has to bounce back:

“When you lose, it is always important to have a response. Even if it is at home in the Carling Cup, we want to win so we need a big response on Tuesday.”

“We have to bounce back because we have another game and we have to be ready for those. We are disappointed but there is still a long way to go and things are not over yet.

“We had many chances to put the game to bed in the first half and, when you don’t do that, you are always in danger of getting punished. I think that is what happened on Saturday.

“The team is building together and we are getting stronger together. We could have won the game but this team has got a lot of potential and we have to work hard to be the best.”

It’s always good to practice what you preach but Djourou has been shambolic for Arsenal and his waned form dates back to the preseason adventures. It’s understandable for a center back not to adept as a full back but Djourou was largely disappointing and he has to improve.

Last season, Djourou rose from the shadows to emerge as Arsenal’s best defender by a far mile but its sad to know that he didn’t build on this form. With the Verm still out, Djourou has to step up his game to challenge the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker but I’m sure that he’ll get a runout tomorrow.

As the adage goes:

“Uneasy is the head that wears the crown”

King Arsène Wenger has come under serious stick following his sides poor showing on Saturday and whispers are emanating about his future as Arsenal’s boss.

Since his arrival in 1996, he hasn’t missed out on a Champions League qualifying place but Wenger’s men are in a very precarious position in the Premier League. If Fulham beat Man City, Arsenal would have been sitting pretty in the relegation zone.

Wenger said that his team paid for their weak moments and the players are lacking confidence.

“That’s where we were guilty. The second, third and fourth goal are all goals where we made basic errors and you just have to focus on the next game.”

“You could see that the confidence in our defenders has gone and it’s important to find it back.”

“We have the potential to do well, you could see that so overall I believe it’s important that we get our confidence back quickly.

“It’s very difficult to accept that you lose a game when you have that much domination, that many chances. It’s unbelievable.”

If your team can’t get the confidence to play a team that was on the bottom of the table, I wonder where the confidence wants to appear from.

There are been many games were the opponent hasn’t been that good, Arsenal has been very poor. The list of matches to be mentioned are endless so I won’t bother delving there.

I’ve learnt a lot of lessons from Arsenal’s match against Blackburn and there were more negatives than positives:

Laurent Koscielny

Koscielny has shown that he’s an inconsistent defender and he really needs to improve on that. You cannot expect Thomas Vermaelen to be fit all season long and Koscielny has to show that he’s a deputy that can be banked upon.

You might feel that I’m a little bit harsh on Kos but he’s not getting any younger. He turned 26 when Arsenal played Swansea but he proved his mettle in the game against Dortmund.

That’s the Koscielny I want to watch every week.
Marouane Chamakh

The Moroccan is turning out to be a peripheral figure at the Emirates and it’s high time he gets a decent run out to gain his confidence back.

I really wish Wenger can employ the 4-4-2 again someday. The Arsenal of the 2007/08 was breathtaking.

Zonal Marking

Set pieces has always been Arsenal’s undoing in recent seasons and Saturday’s game was no different. Yakubu’s second goal was as a result of more porous defending by Arsenal in the 18-yard box.

Wenger’s men have to get it right as the season progresses because more goals could be conceded from there.

Defensive high line

Anytime I think of Nani’s goal against Arsenal, I get a feeling that’s equivalent to a man that wants to shoot his own foot.

Nani was acres of space away from Arsenal’s backline and he had a million and one options to choose from. Annoyingly enough, he made the most embarrassing choice of them all; chipping it over Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsenal’s defense tends to keep a line without executing the offside trap welll and it has been exploited by the opposition.

This simply has to stop.

Despite all this, Emmanuel Frimpong still tagets a top four finish:

“People have written us off this season – and obviously that 8-2 game at Manchester United didn’t help.

“It was a very difficult situation but the manager has told us it was something that only happens once.”

“We started slowly and at the moment we are playing catch up – but I believe top four would be a good achievement for us.”

A man who cannot afford a car shouldn’t be hoping for private jets but @AdeGooner shares the same optimism with Frimpong, that’s why he has the quote of the day.

@AdeGooner: “I’m happy Liverpool is dropping points. Good for the fourth place campaign, Sp*rs aren’t a threat for that position.”

It’s one game at a time, if you ask me.

I’m going to publish another post around 9am.

This post was meant for yesterday.

Forgive this blogger 🙂

Sayonara.

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